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So, after spending the last 3 1/2 years of college working at a a bike shop in Lawrence, I've worked my "bike equity" up pretty well and am eligible for one last employee purchase before I go. I've got a few job prospects doing Environmental Consulting in the front range of CO and the goal is to get out there with my wife and put down some roots (and save some roots for that matter). One possibility is in Summit County! :eekster:
I've been fanatical about the Giant Anthem for the last couple of years for the hilly, forested and limestone trails of NE Kansas/ NW Missouri. For me, it has been the ideal ride and fit. I was planning on getting the '08 Anthem 1, slapping on a Reba Team U-Turn and calling it good for my CO bike. Then, a friend that recently moved back from the front range tried to convince me that there was no way an anthem would work out there and I should just get a Reign!
Since I had a Trance 2 in '05 and felt it was way too slack for the trails around here, I don't think I could stand a bike with a 69 degree head angle, regardless of the locale. I considered the Trance X, but I want to keep it under 27 lbs and can't afford the X0. Also I want an adjustable travel fork and there doesn't seem to be much in that travel range that doesn't weigh 4+ pounds. I could put the Reba U-Turn on there, but my max travel would already be below the 120mm spec.:(
Anyway, long story short, since I don't plan to downhill (not that it wouldn't be fun) and I can appreciate my friend's advice for more travel since he lived there, I'm going to sell my '07 Anthem 1 and go with the '08 Trance 1 with a silver Reba U-Turn and maybe some XT cranks. Starting with a 70.5 HT angle, I figure that will let me steepen the head angle at 85mm to about 71.3 for the climbs and let it out to 115mm for 69.7 degrees for the downs. If anyone has any stellar advice for a Rocky Mountains Rookie, by all means, give it to me!:D
Thanks,
Chris
 

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Here is my biased 2 cents: :D

The Front Range trails around Golden/Denver are very steep and rocky & full of waterbars. Go with the 5" Trance X at minimum. maybe even the Reign if you like to rip the DH. Summit County isn't anywhere near as demanding on suspension, so you might be able to get away with a 4" travel Trance, but I'm no expert on summit country - I only lived there for 8 months.

But then again, you still see the occasional short travel bike or hardtail on the Front Range. I guess you gotta ask yourself what kind of rider are you? What area do you want your bike to perform? Climbing (but not technical climbing) or bombing the DH & technical climbs? Are you going to do the more technical trails here or stick to the smoother ones (there are a few)?

Oh and one more thing. A 20mm TA on that adjustable travel fork is a must. Unless you're racing, don't stress over the weight of the bike for the trails we have here. My Reign is 35lb with DH tires and it rips the technical uphills like no light weight, short travel bike can. Gratuitous pic of Front Range climbing.

Oh and FWIW Maestro does wonders on all the square edge hit we have here, both up and down.
 

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The Anthem is a sweet bike, but what most people find when they come out here from the flats is that riding at 20 mph on single track with a 70+ degree HA is no fun. You spend all your time either A-watching your buddies drop you, or B--looking at the trees you are about to hit. Sure there are guys who can rip it on a 73 HA cross bike, but that's not the point, get a good trail bike (69 or so HA) for your main bike, and then if you want a race specific go for it. The Trance w/ it's 69 degree HA is just right, the Trance X even better. Some folks like the Reign even more, but if you are on the fence of thinking the Anthem is right stick with it.

Oh-- the idea of changing your fork for downhill, forget it. most rides have extended bits of both, get a fork thats good w/o changing and stick with it. unless you get a Maverick or similar that can change fast, but even then you'll find you won't use it much. you're too busy smiling to worry about it.
 
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